BoatUS’s Annual Debate on Boating Issues

December 2018 News BoatUS News


A panel of distinguished boating leaders who serve as a sounding board for Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) gathered last week along with esteemed guests and BoatUS staff in Newport Beach to discuss key issues impacting recreational boating, including the changing boat-ownership model and shifting boater demographics. BoatUS is the nation’s largest recreational boat owners group in the U.S. with more than a half-million dues-paying members.

The group also discussed legislative issues that help keep the association’s focus on the evolving needs of recreational boaters, including some who now get on the water without having to own a boat via boat-sharing clubs. The National Marine Manufacturers Association, U.S. Power Squadrons, National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, and U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary all provided updates on activities.

The volunteer members of the BoatUS National Advisory Council included Robert Baldridge, past chief commander, United States Power Squadrons; Ellen Bradley, senior vice president & chief communications officer, National Marine Manufacturers Association; Lenora S. Clark, former California Boating and Waterways commissioner and former Recreational Boaters of California president; Dean Travis Clarke, former executive editor, Bonnier Marine Group; Ray Durazo, incoming president, Recreational Boaters of California; Jim Ellis, National Advisory Council chairman and former president, BoatUS; John Flynn, principal, Squire Patton Boggs; Mark Brown, president, National Association of State Boating Law Administrators; and Bob Adriance, former editor, Seaworthy.

Joining the council’s members were a distinguished roster of special guests, including Beth Newburger Schwartz, president, Epoch Communications and wife of late BoatUS founder Richard Schwartz; Vern Gifford, chief, U.S. Coast Guard Office of Boating Safety; and Jerry Desmond, principal, Desmond & Desmond and RBOC Legislative Counsel.

BoatUS leadership and staff included Kirk La, chief executive officer; Chris Edmonston, vice president, Government Affairs, and president, BoatUS Foundation; Heather Lougheed, vice president, Membership; David Kennedy, manager, Government Affairs; Morgan Neuhoff, senior program coordinator, Government Affairs;

Attending from BoatUS’s parent GEICO were Chris Nowack, counsel; and Steve Parsons, vice president, assistant controller.

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